Music

Mr. Welfare Man by Gladys Knight

Soul Music Month has arrived! My favorite month, not only because I ABSOLUTELY love music, but it’s also my birth month. I’m so grateful to my parents for exposing me to good, music. Music that came from the soul. Music that spoke of the current time and in most cases has become timeless because some shyt has not changed; but I digress. Music makes me feel good. It is my therapy at times. I will try to feature some of my favorite songs – some old, some new, some borrowed – that are rarely if ever heard on the radio. I also plan to provide the lyrics and a bit of background on each song. Happy Soul Music Month!!

My Welfare Man by Gladys Knight is a JAM! The song derives from the soundtrack of the movie “Claudine”, starring Diahann Carol (Claudine) and James Earl Jones (Roop) and is so aligned with the story line that it gives me goosebumps. The soundtrack was written by the late, great  Curtis Mayfield! Need I say more? If you have never seen Claudine – which is a great movie by the way- you may not appreciate this song for it is; or maybe you will. The movie, which was filmed in the 1970’s, is a love story centered around Claudine, a single mother of 6 who falls in love with Roop, a garbage man as they both struggle to get ahead of a (welfare) system that has been created against them. We see the effects of welfare on their relationship and her children. We see how oxymoronic the welfare system is to some. In one scene Claudine says, “If I don’t feed my kids, it’s child neglect. If I go out and get a job, and make a little money on the side, then that’s cheating. I stay at home and I’m lazy. I can’t win.” That brings us to my song selection of the day, “Mr. Welfare Man”. I’m accustomed to hearing Gladys Knight sing light-hearted songs with emotion, but this is the only song that I recall her sing so loud, so angry and so defiant. Melancholy soul is the best way I can describe it. The song and the album are so well aligned with the movie. Whew, Chile! Check it out for yourself! Enjoy!

* I DO NOT OWN THE RIGHTS TO THIS MUSIC*

Keep away from me, Mr. Welfare
They just keep on saying I’m a lazy women, don’t
love my children and I’m mentally unfit
I must divorce him, cut all my ties with him cuz
his ways they make me say
It’s a hard sacrifice, not having me a loving man
Society gave us no choice, tried to silence my
voice pushing me on the welfare
I’m so tired, I’m so tired of trying to prove my
equal rights
Though I’ve made some mistakes for goodness
sake, why should they help mess up my life?

ooh, so keep away from me, Mr.Welfare. Did you
hear me? Keep away from me, Mr.Welfare
Holding me back, using your tract, to make me
live against my will,
If that’s how it goes child, I don’t know, I can’t
concede my life’s for real
It’s like a private eye for the FBI, just as envious
as the Ku Klux Klan
Though I’m of pleasant fate it’s hard to relate, I’ll
do the very best I can

ooh, so keep away from me, ooh ooh Mr.Welfare
No no, did you hear me?(Keep away from me)
don’t come near me, stay away, Mr.Welfare
They keep on saying I’m a lazy women, don’t love
My children and I’m mentally unfit
I must divorce him, cut all my ties with him cuz
his ways they make me say
oooh, It’s a hard sacrifice. No no no no Lordy. Mr
Welfare, Stay away Mr.Welfare
I’m so tired, I’m so tired of trying to prove my
equal rights
Though I’ve made some mistakes for goodness
sake, why should they help mess up my life?

Whoo whoo so keep away from me, ooh ooh Mr.Welfare
Don’t you hear me?(Keep away from me)
Stay away Mr.Welfare.
They keep on saying I’m a lazy women, don’t love
my children and I’m mentally unfit
I must just divorce the man, cut all my ties with
him cuz his ways they make me say
Oooooooo, it’s a scarifice(hard sacrifice), I gotta
testify. (hard sacrifice)
Mr.Welfare, Mr.Welfare (hard sacrifice, hard sacrifice)
I’m so tired, of trying to prove my equal rights
Though I’ve made some mistakes for goodness
sakes, why should they help mess up life?

Whoo whooo whoo keep away from me, Mr.Welfare
Did you hear me? Keep away from me, Oooh Mr.Welfare
They keep saying I’m a lazy women, don’t love
my children and I’m mentally unfit
I must divorce him, cut all my ties with him cuz
his ways they make me say
It’s a hard sacrifice. I just want to testify. Lordy
Lordy Lordy Lordy
Um hmmm, keep away from me. Get on, get on, keep
away from me, move on, Mr.Welfare
keep away from me

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